Glossary of Poetic Terms

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Naga-Uta Longer Japanese form consisting of alternating five and seven syllable lines - as in a haiku - and concluding with two seven syllable lines - as in a tanka. The naga-uta is sometimes known as a choka. See Japanese forms.
Naive and Sentimental Term coined by Schiller to distinguish (what he saw as) two separate types of poets: 'Naive' - those like Homer, Shakespeare and Goethe who dealt with nature as it is and 'Sentimental' - those who, like himself, or Wordsworth dealt with it in a more detached or formal manner.
Narrative Verse Verse which tells a story e.g. The Wife of Bath's Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer. The Odyssey by Homer is another example. Narrative verse is not very common today; story telling is now the preserve of the novel.
Nature Poets/Poetry Term used to describe poets whose subject matter predominantly concerns animals, birds, insects and vegetation. Notable English nature poets include John Clare, Gerard Manley Hopkins, D.H.Lawrence and Ted Hughes.
Near Rhyme Term used to describe a number of devices which come close to full rhyme but don't create the perfect chiming sound associated with words such as 'cat' and 'mat'. These devices include: assonance, consonance, half-rhyme, pararhyme and unaccented rhyme.
Negative Capability Term coined by John Keats to describe the (true) poet's ability of  'being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason'.
Neo-Classical   Poets/Poetry Term used to describe the work of some late 17th century and 18th century poets such as Alexander Pope and John Dryden who deliberately imitated the classical Greek and Roman poets.  Their work was characterised by formality and restraint. Romanticism was a reaction against neo-classicism. The neo-classical poets are sometimes known as the Augustans.
Neologism The coining or use of new words e.g. in Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

New Apocalypse, the Group of 1940s poets who reacted against the classicism of Auden. Their work was wild, turbulent and surrealist. James Findlay Hendry, Henry Treece and G.S.Fraser were key members. Other poets associated with the movement were: Dylan Thomas, Vernon Watkins and George Barker. The movement poets opposed the New Apocalypse.
New Criticism Group of (largely) American critics including: T.S.Eliot, I.A. Richards, William Empson, Yvor Winters, Allen Tate, Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren who advocated a 'close reading' of texts.
Nobel Prize for Literature Nobel Prizes were instigated by the Swedish chemist Alfred Bernhard Nobel. The first prize for literature was awarded to Sully Prudhomme in 1901. Other poet recipients include: T.S.Eliot, W.B.Yeats, Rudyard Kipling, Pablo Neruda, Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott. See full list of recipients here.
Nom de Plume Pen-name or literary pseudonym. Hugh MacDiarmid was the nom de plume of the Scottish poet Christopher Murray Grieve.
Nonce-Word See neologism.
Nonsense Verse A form of light verse where the emphasis moves from comedy to absurdity. This is often achieved by following a rhyme scheme to an illogical conclusion. Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll and, more recently, Spike Milligan were all exponents of nonsense verse.
Null Rhyme The perfect rhyme of a word with itself e.g. in the first and last line of an Edward Lear limerick.

Numbers Alternative term for metrical feet. Pope wrote 'But most by numbers judge a poet's song,/And smooth or rough with them is right or wrong.' See meter.
Nursery Rhymes Jingles written for children e.g. Hickory, Dickory, Dock, Wee Willie Winkie or The Cat and the Fiddle. Many have been passed down orally.

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